February 1, 2018
The Philanthropic Trends Digest
A Publication of Lawson Associates, Inc.
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Douglas M. Lawson, Ph.D.
Dallas, TX

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Pam Carpenter

Pam Carpenter

Chief Operating Officer

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Ben Casey

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Dallas, TX


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Roanoke, VA and
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 Rod Brown

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Lake Wylie, SC 

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Lincoln, NM 

 Jane Jordan

Jacksonville, FL 
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Dear Friend:

Can your business be socially responsible and still make a profit?

Laurence D. Fink, Founder and Chief Executive of Black Rock says, yes.  In a letter he sent to the world's largest companies on January 16th, he states that each company must do more than make profits.  They need to contribute to society if they wish to continue to receive support from Black Rock, which has more than $6 trillion in investments which makes it the largest investor in the world.

In Fink's words, "Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose.  To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also shows how it makes a positive contribution to society."

Almost immediately, there was opposition to Fink's letter.  On January 22nd, Andy Kessler of the Wall Street Journal filed an op-ed piece that states his opinion that profits are the first duty of corporations, not philanthropy.  He quoted a Milton Friedman 1970 article entitled, "The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits".

Where do you stand on this issue?  I stand solidly behind Laurence Fink.


Douglas M. Lawson, Ph.D.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, "A Demand For Change Backed Up By $6 Trillion, The New York Times, January 16, 2018, p. B1.  Andy Kessler, "Stocks Weren't Made For Social Climbing", The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2018, p. A 15.
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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  - - Eli Broad

W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will headline the Visionary Luncheon benefiting the Retina Foundation of the Southwest on March 2nd at the Omni Dallas Hotel.  The two rarely appear publicly at fundraising events, and Award-winning journalist Shelly Slater will moderate a conversation with the couple.  Scott Murray is planning to serve as emcee.  Therese and Chris Rourk and Lisa and Brian Tibbs are serving as Co-Chairs of the event which is dedicated to the memory of legendary philanthropist and fundraiser Ruth Altshuler, who was to have served as Honorary Co-Chair with Gene Jones.  The nonprofit institute is dedicated to preventing vision loss and restoring sight through advanced research and treatments, such as gene therapy. - - Holly Haber, The Dallas Morning News, January 22, 2018.  Read more. 

5 FORMER PRESIDENTS RAISE $41 MILLION - - One America Appeal, the hurricane relief fund set up by five former presidents, raised $41 million for the victims of three storms last year. The former presidents, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, put politics aside last September after flooding from Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Gulf Coast. They expanded their efforts after Hurricane Irma struck Florida and Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "On behalf of the former Presidents, we want to thank each of the roughly 110,500 donors who so selflessly answered the call to help our fellow Americans in need due to the devastating 2017 hurricane season," David Jones, CEO of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, said in a news release. "Together, we have worked very hard to get this money where it is needed quickly." The money raised was spread among five charities aiding the affected regions: the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, the Rebuild Texas Fund, the Florida Disaster Fund, Unidos Por Puerto Rico and the Community Fund of the Virgin Islands. - - David Jordan, The Dallas Morning News, January 25, 2018.  Read more. 
DONORS EXCEED LATE CEO'S GOAL - - Before she died, Jan Pruitt had a goal to raise $55 million for the hungry, the largest capital campaign ever for a social service agency in North Texas. A year after the longtime CEO of North Texas Food Bank died of cancer, donors have exceeded that goal.  The most recent count shows the food bank had raised $55,673,823. And that number is likely to keep growing until the campaign ends.  The funds will help the food bank build a new distribution center, which will allow the agency to focus not just on food but on nutritious food. The money will also help the food bank track what food is eaten, help people with special dietary needs, and feed more people who suffer from chronic hunger. Anurag Jain, the food bank's board chairman, said Pruitt launched the campaign in 2015 believing donors would help the organization meet its goal. "Jan knew this initiative was a major undertaking, but she saw the need to bridge the hunger gap for the future, as well as the present, and knew that our community could make this happen," Jain said. - - Jennifer Emily, The Dallas Morning News, January 23, 2018.  Read more. 
ROBERTA BUFFETT ELLIOTT GIVES $106 MILLION FOR CHILD HEALTH CARE - - Roberta Buffett Elliott, the sister of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, has donated $105.8 million to a California health-care foundation to support children's behavioral health. The gift to Montage Health Foundation "will be devoted exclusively to creating an innovative approach to child and adolescent behavioral health," according to a news release. The facility will support an inpatient-care house, outpatient care, early intervention, and partnerships with community organizations. The house will be located in Monterey, California, and the goal is to make it a model that can be replicated by other communities. "It popped right out that this was something that wouldn't happen without a special, big gift," Ms. Elliott said in the release from Montage Health. Ms. Elliott lives in Monterey and previously served on Montage Health's Board of Trustees. She was an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway, founded by her brother, and has a long history of giving in the Monterey area and at her alma mater, Northwestern University. - - Ariella Phillips, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 30, 2018.  Read more. 

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